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People suffering COPD ( chronic obstructive pulmonary ) disease have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death ( SCD ), according to new research published online in the European Heart Journal.

When compared with people of the same age and sex without the disease, COPD patients have an overall 34% increased risk of sudden cardiac death, but their risk almost doubles more than five years after first being diagnosed with COPD.
In COPD patients who have frequent exacerbation of symptoms, the risk of sudden cardiac death increases more than three-fold after five years.

The Rotterdam study is the first to show that COPD is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death in the general population and that this remains the case even when taking into account that COPD is known to increase the risk of death from any cause.

The ongoing study, which started in 1990 in The Netherlands, has been following 14,926 people living in the community aged 45 and older, for up to 24 years.
The participants have regular medical examinations and are continuously monitored, so that deaths and medical conditions are recorded.

According to researchers, their findings should help doctors to assess their patients’ risk of sudden cardiac death more accurately, as well as suggesting directions for further research into how to target preventive action more effectively.
Preventive treatments could include beta-blockers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators ( ICD ), or the withdrawal of drugs that prolong the QT interval, such as Adrenaline, various cold remedies, some antibiotics and antidepressants.

COPD has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and with sudden cardiac death in specific high-risk patient populations.

This study has shown that COPD is a risk indicator for sudden cardiac death in the general population and that the risk increases with COPD severity. ( Xagena )

Source: European Society of Cardiology, 2015

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